Horsham praised for ‘great character’ as they get up and running with Sevenoaks win

Lee Harding in action in Horsham's victory at Sevenoaks. Picture by John Lines
Lee Harding in action in Horsham's victory at Sevenoaks. Picture by John Lines

Horsham boss Dominic Di Paola praised his side for their ‘big improvement’ after they picked up their first Bostik League South East win of the season away to Sevenoaks Town on Saturday.

Goals from Joe Shelley and Lee Harding cancelled out a Frankie Sawyer opener for the hosts as the Hornets won 2-1 to take home three points.

Joe Shelley heads home Horsham's opening goal against Sevenoaks. Picture by John Lines

Joe Shelley heads home Horsham's opening goal against Sevenoaks. Picture by John Lines

Di Paola was pleased with his team’s battling display and felt his squad deserved huge credit after falling behind.

He said: “We created enough chances to win comfortably and then in the last 15 minutes we battled hard to keep the win when they threw everything at us.

“We showed great character after going behind and at times we played some good stuff which was a big improvement on last Saturday.

“They had good attitudes and took the game by the scruff of the neck after going behind and it was a very good goal by them which we couldn’t do much about.

Horsham celebrate Joe Shelley's opening goal against Sevenoaks. Picture by John Lines

Horsham celebrate Joe Shelley's opening goal against Sevenoaks. Picture by John Lines

“Fair play to the boys for getting back in the game and then going ahead and then keeping the lead when we were under pressure at the end.”

Sevenoaks took the lead on 18 minutes after Josh Pelling’s punch out from a corner found Sawyer who fired in a spectacular goal from twenty yards out.

Horsham drew level two minutes later as a long Daryl Coleman throw caused havoc in the box, eventually finding Shelley whose diving header levelled the score.

The visitors then struck the crossbar twice through Harding and Will Hoare as they pushed for a second before half time.

The Hornets finally went ahead on 54 minutes as Rob O’Toole’s chipped pass found Harding who coolly finished to make it 2-1.

With 15 minutes left Chris Smith missed a one-on-one to put the game to bed after a good ball from O’Toole.

Sevenoaks pinned the Hornets into their own half as the game came to a close but the hosts could not find an equaliser.

After Horsham’s opening two games, Di Paola has been encouraged by what he has seen from his squad but feels his team aren’t yet the finished article.

He added: “I think we’re still a long way from being how we can be.

“We’ve got about 14 new players this year and we’re playing a different shape and it takes a while for the group to gel so I still think we’re a way off.

“I’ve got no real complaints at the moment, the boys are working as hard as they can and they’re giving their all.

“That’s all you can ever ask and I think we will get more comfortable as a group and more used to what we’re trying to do.”

Horsham: Pelling, Metcalf, Taylor, Harris (Landais 79’), Shelley, Coleman (Hayward 73’), Hoare, Lovegrove, O’Toole, Smith, Harding (Richardson-Brown 82’). Unused: Farmer, Boswell.